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.. that she wants to learn for a play at school. I have no idea how this happened, but she said she has a couple months to learn it. She said maybe we can write in the note names..

X_X

WELL...

It's not Fur Elise or anything like that.. it's Home on the Range, thankfully in one hand, single notes, in the key of G. I think it looks something like this, [Linked Image] possibly a bit longer, But, I'm still like eeks.. this is not Mary had a Little Lamb.

This girl has only had her third lesson with me today, we are just got into skips and steps on the grand staff today (w/ Glover Primer) because her other lesson book (Bastien Primer) doesn't get onto the staff until much later on and I was like well.. if she wants to learn this we better switch to on the staff. She's still not very solid on her finger numbers either and so I was planning to go really slow with her. But then this curve ball came. I'm thinking of I might need to teach it to her rote, but how long is that going to take?! O_o

What would you guys do, assuming you don't say no to her about teaching her the song?


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She may be fast with the rote. Try her out.

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You should tell the student that the piece is way too difficult for her, and the she will need at least 2 (or more! you can exaggerate here) years of lessons before she can successfully play that piece.


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How old is she? We sang that song in school and we would just play a simplified melody-chords arrangement from the song book on the piano. I am a bit confused what the difficulty is? With an easy key and a few simple chords to learn I don't see how that couldn't be learned by a beginner in a couple of months...a week or two should be enough.

As a kid I used to teach my friends who never had piano lessons how to play songs that way. This one is slow and if you can sing it you can also play the rhythm even if not familiar with 8th notes yet. And if she doesn't know all the notes on the staff yet, then by all means write them down for her. Then teach the few block chords for the left hand and that's it.

Last edited by outo; 02/16/17 12:55 AM.
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AZN-- that is exactly what I wanted to say but it's a school play and I think she really wants to do this and my heart -_-

Outo/Mark -- she's 10, and I have never learned a song by rote, so you can imagine the idea of teaching a song by rote to me is kind of a daunting task. You mean I am to play a few notes, and have her copy what she sees my hands do, and remember that? And then play the next few notes? So on....? I only have 30 minutes with this girl a week and to spend it all on something that is not at her level when we could be actually making progress goes against what I think is good teaching. My mentor says he feels teaching by rote is also valuable although I should be clear that this will be a one time thing and to tell her to never write the letters on the notes again :P , though I haven't found out why rote is valuable yet,......

so I guess I'll try it out. T_T Hope she's fast!


Last edited by hello my name is; 02/16/17 01:47 AM.

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Well, if it's for a school play, you might want to do some research into the nature of the production. If it's some serious stuff, then I would advise against it. But if it's "anything goes," then go for it.


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You can devote 5 minutes of each lesson to this project. She'll learn it. I don't understand the dishonor in writing out the names of some of the notes.

One thing I would do is erase the chord symbols, if you are only teaching the tune - especially if you are going to write in some of the note names above the staff.

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A ten year old should be able to learn to read the melody and memorize the chords for the left hand in no time. I taught myself to play songs like this as a kid. I just looked up the chords from a chart. Then I taught my friends who had no instrumental lessons.

This is very confusing to me...Are you saying you don't teach reading RH notes from the staff at all in the beginning? Even if so, it wouldn't take long to teach the few in this song or write the first notes for her and show how to find them on the keyboard. There really isn't that many in this simple song. If she has normal intelligence she will remember them and don't need you to write any more. So I would not teach her by rote only, but let her learn the notes.

The only danger is that she might realize that it's possible to play music without first going through months or even years of tedious elementary books... But on the other hand it will show her how useful it is to learn to read the notes on the upper staff herself, which alone will open up the possibility to play any such simple song with the help of chord charts.


Last edited by outo; 02/16/17 07:45 AM.
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If you will play a few minutes of appealing music for your student at their visits (with the score even if you don't need it), they will grow to learn 'I want to read music so I can play THAT'! I see nothing wrong with writing out one song---- but at the same time having them recognize that the 'right method' will get them independent and quicker results.


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I'd just talk about how it might be quite tricky, and then jump right in and teach it to her - mostly by rote, but I'd make sure she understood how the shape of the melody relates to the score. She'll almost certainly rise to the challenge, and thoroughly enjoy it.

If she gets on well enough, there should even be time to add in a simple left hand part.

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Honestly I don't see what's "tricky" about this at all. To learn to play 4 different chords with the left hand and a very simple melody easily memorized with the right? And it would be a good way to introduce her to some theory. Why these chords are chosen for this melody?

If she was 5 I would understand, but this is something a 10 year old could self teach.

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I'm not a piano teacher-- but I think she'll pick it up quickly and that having this goal will be a great motivator.

One thing about the fingerings, though. I don't like that 234 in the second-third measure and then a stretch from 4 to 3 to get back to the C, especially for a child's hand. Why not 345? (As I say, not a teacher, but have had a lot of Taubman lessons.)


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My first piano lesson, when I was ten, was picking out tunes like this by ear. Maybe she could try that? It might be a good introduction to playing by ear.

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You would be completely flabbergasted by what kids can learn when they really want to. Teach her by rote, with the "score" just being a guide to remind her of what comes next. This isn't ideal, but it isn't going to harm anything.

I once had a 12yo boy who really wanted to learn "Linus and Lucy" for a talent show. It was waaaay above his level, but he insisted (he started piano at 11yo). I counted out the rhythms with him and got him started. He came back the next week and had it learned and memorized (not totally polished, but still). After learning that piece, he went back to his regular rep and was a slow learner again, and had no interest in learning anything else. I later found out he learned the piece to impress a girl during the talent show. He got her attention, then switched to trumpet because that is what she played. (I found this out from his younger sister, who I also taught.)


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Originally Posted by jdw

One thing about the fingerings, though. I don't like that 234 in the second-third measure and then a stretch from 4 to 3 to get back to the C, especially for a child's hand. Why not 345? (As I say, not a teacher, but have had a lot of Taubman lessons.)

It's not legato, so not a stretch (though I wouldn't suggest that myself, either).


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Originally Posted by outo
Honestly I don't see what's "tricky" about this at all. To learn to play 4 different chords with the left hand and a very simple melody easily memorized with the right? And it would be a good way to introduce her to some theory. Why these chords are chosen for this melody?

If she was 5 I would understand, but this is something a 10 year old could self teach.

You might come to a totally different conclusion after having taught 10-year-old kids who can't read skips and steps, or still get confused by finger numbers.


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Originally Posted by jdw
One thing about the fingerings, though. I don't like that 234 in the second-third measure and then a stretch from 4 to 3 to get back to the C, especially for a child's hand. Why not 345? (As I say, not a teacher, but have had a lot of Taubman lessons.)

You are absolutely correct! And this problem is quite prevalent--even in Henle editions!


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@az
I have no idea what skips and steps are, so I wouldn't know. But I don't think I have ever met a child with already several years of schooling behind and without some sort of disability that could not learn the notes of something this simple if they are able to sing it and really wanted to. The 10 year olds I know are quite resourceful. Are you sure you're not underestimating kids because you look at it through the process of classical piano learning. Which is a lot harder.

Besides I have dyscalculia and still confuse finger numbers but that never has been more than a nuisance (I frequently write them wrong). The only issue is if one truly does not understand them.

Don't want to argue but sometimes I just get baffled from what I read here...is the reality we live in really that different?

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Originally Posted by outo
The 10 year olds I know are quite resourceful.

That doesn't mean they can play piano successfully.

Originally Posted by outo
Are you sure you're not underestimating kids because you look at it through the process of classical piano learning. Which is a lot harder.

Of course not! I base my opinion on common sense and actual experience.


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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by outo
The 10 year olds I know are quite resourceful.

That doesn't mean they can play piano successfully.

Originally Posted by outo
Are you sure you're not underestimating kids because you look at it through the process of classical piano learning. Which is a lot harder.

Of course not! I base my opinion on common sense and actual experience.


I never said they could play the piano successfully, but they could learn to play this one piece on the piano. Those are completely different things.

So are you saying you have actually tried to teach a song like this to your beginning students and failed? Because where I come from there are teachers who specialize in doing just that and are quite successful in it. After only a handful of lessons their students play this sort of stuff.

Edit: Tried to find an English term to this practice but found out that it doesn't actually exist. Yet it is a very popular way of learning music around here. All future school teachers for lower grades are required to learn it even I they have never played an instrument before.

Last edited by outo; 02/16/17 05:34 PM.
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